Ascent Student Loan Review

Whether you’re an undergraduate, graduate or international student, finding funding for your education can be complicated and downright confusing.

In this review, we’ll take an in-depth look at the popular private student loan provider, Ascent, to help you cut through the noise and decide if it’s the right fit for your needs. We’ll dive deep into the details, breaking down the application process, loan and repayment options, eligibility requirements and how it stacks up against other lenders. So you’ll feel confident and empowered to make a smart decision about your student loan financing.

Last Updated 

student loans hero (1)
brand logo

9.2

9.2

APR starting at 3.79%*

Highlights
Save with 1% cash back at graduation + 0.25% - 1.00% autopay discount
Start payments up to 9 months after graduation
Cover up to 100% of school cost & other school-related expenses
No fees - No application, origination, disbursement or late fees

About Ascent Student Loans

Ascent is a private student loan provider, founded in 2016 and based in California. The company’s goal is to provide loans that expand student’s possibilities, not limit them. Ascent offers a range of student loan options with flexible terms and repayment plans, as well as loans to cover tech bootcamps and other approved career training programs.

Ascent offers a host of benefits that set them apart from others in this space, including a one percent cash back graduation reward, referral rewards and robust financial education tools (our favorite is Ascent’s college education return-on-investment calculator—keep reading to learn more).

Pros Cons
Flexible Terms: Ascent offers 40 repayment options (no lender offers more). Choose from deferred repayment, $25 minimum repayment, interest-only repayment or immediate repayment with terms ranging from five, seven, 10, 12, 15 or 20 years, so borrowers can customize their loan to their budget and future earning potential. No Refinance Options: Ascent does not offer refinance or student loan consolidation at this time.
Absolutely No Fees: With Ascent, there are no application fees, no loan origination fees, no late fees and no fees for early payments or early loan payoff, helping borrowers save. Limited Credit Score Information: Ascent’s minimum credit score is in the low-mid 600s but they do not publish exact minimum credit score requirements and other specific credit-decision criteria, and these are subject to change. However, borrowers are able to prequalify and check rates without impacting their credit score.
Generous Grace Period: Most Ascent loan types offer a nine-month grace period, while federal loans and some private student loans are often capped at six months. Limited Options for Non-Credit-Based Loans: Ascent’s outcomes-based loans carry higher interest rates and have fewer term and repayment options than their credit-based loans. However, these loans are a great way for borrowers without credit history to build credit.
Cash Back Graduation Bonus: Upon graduation, Ascent rewards borrowers with one percent cash back when certain criteria are met.
Auto-Pay Discounts: Borrowers can save an additional 0.25 percent to one percent when enrolling in automatic payments, depending on loan type.
Referral Bonus: Earn a $400 Amazon gift card for each friend you successfully refer to Ascent.
Co-signer Release: After 12 months of consecutive, on-time payments, you can apply to remove the co-signer from your loan to keep building your credit.

Exploring Ascent Private Student Loan Options

Ascent offers a variety of loan options designed to cater to a range of student needs:

Ascent Credit Based Student Loan

Undergraduates seeking private funding for their education have a few options to consider, the main difference being credit-based or outcomes-based. Both types offer fixed or variable interest rates and a variety of loan terms to choose from, so you can tailor the monthly payment to work for your circumstances.

Ascent’s credit-based student loans are available for students with a strong credit history or those who have a creditworthy co-signer. These loans carry credit eligibility requirements, such as credit history, minimum credit score and income requirements. This option is great for students who can meet the requirements, because these loans offer potentially lower interest rates.

Ascent’s outcomes-based loan is available to college junior or seniors who may not meet the requirements of a credit-based loan, but qualify on other eligibility terms, such as a 3.0 minimum GPA. This is a great option for students without credit history, or those who don’t have an option for a co-signer.

Ascent Graduate Student Loans

Ascent’s graduate student loans allow students to fund their master’s, doctoral or professional degrees with or without a co-signer. Interest rates vary based on degree type and other criteria, but both fixed and variable rates are available, and borrowers can select from repayment terms ranging from five years to 20 years. 

Qualifying graduate programs include MBA programs, medical school, dental school, law school, PhD programs and health professions such as nursing and pharmacist degrees.

Ascent International Student Loan

Ascent offers loans for international students studying in the U.S. These loans can help bridge the gap for those who don’t qualify for federal loans. The requirements for an international student loan include having an eligible resident status and a U.S.-based co-signer that meets the minimum credit score and income requirements.

Ascent Refinance Student Loan

Ascent does not offer refinance or consolidation loans for existing student loans at this time.

Ascent Bootcamp Loans and Other Loan Types

Ascent also offers parent loans, DACA student loans and bootcamp loans, which can be used to pay for tech bootcamps and other approved career training programs.

Navigating the Ascent Student Loan Process 

Ascent Student Loan Application

  • Submit Prequalification: To get started, borrowers fill out basic contact info, along with school info and co-signer details to get prequalified. Ascent performs a soft credit check to get your rate options, which has no impact on your credit score.
  • Customize Loan Details: Once you choose a loan offer that works best for you, you’ll complete a full loan application. After approval, you can customize your loan details and select the loan terms that work best for your situation.
  • Complete Open Tasks: After your loan details are selected, complete any open tasks in the Ascent portal to finalize your loan.
  • Acceptance and Disbursement: When your loan is complete, Ascent will take care of disbursement. Funds are released directly to your school. 

Terms, Fees and Conditions

Ascent offers repayment terms ranging from five to 15 years for undergraduate loans, and five to 20 years on graduate loans. Note that 20-year loans are only available with a variable interest rate. This flexibility allows borrowers to choose a term that best suits their financial situation and projected income after graduation. 

Shorter terms generally mean that your monthly payment is higher, but that you save money on interest over the life of the loan. Longer terms result in lower monthly payments but higher total interest paid over the life of the loan.

A benefit to choosing Ascent is that they have no application fees, no origination fees, no late fees and no fees for early payments or early loan payoff. 

Ascent Student Loan Interest Rate

As with every lender, Ascent’s interest rates will vary based on loan type, credit history and whether or not you’re applying with a co-signer.

Ascent’s rates are competitive within the private loan market, and are available as both fixed and variable. Borrowers should consider whether they prefer the stability of a fixed interest rate or the potential savings of a variable rate, which may start low but can fluctuate over time.

Ascent Student Loan Requirements

Ascent Student Loans Minimum Credit Score

Ascent’s minimum credit score is in the low-mid 600s but they do not disclose their exact credit-decision criteria, including minimum credit score requirements, which are subject to change and may also depend on the credit score of a borrower’s co-signer.

However, borrowers can check what rates they prequalify for without impacting their credit score by filling out a simple, four-step application online.

Ascent Student Loan Co-signer Requirements

Co-signers must meet Ascent’s minimum credit score requirement. Ascent also looks at other factors, such as credit history.

Ascent Student Loans Co-signer Release

Borrowers can apply to release the co-signer from their loan after making 12 consecutive, on-time payments and meeting other eligibility criteria such as minimum credit and income requirements.

Ascent Student Loans Login

Borrowers can manage their loans through their Ascent student loans login. This online portal allows you to view your loan balance, make payments and update personal information.

Ascent Student Loan Repayment Options

Deferred Repayment

Borrowers can choose this option to defer payments while attending school. After graduation and the grace period, typically nine months with most undergraduate and graduate loans, full monthly repayment will begin. With this option, borrowers will pay the most over the life of the loan since interest accumulates while you’re in school.

$25 Minimum Payment

This repayment option allows borrowers to pay $25 per month while in school, which helps chip away at the interest that accumulates while you’re in school. Full repayment begins at the end of the grace period after graduation. This saves borrowers a little money over the life of the loan.

Interest-Only Repayment

With this option, borrowers pay at least the monthly interest on the loan while in school. After graduation and the grace period, full repayment begins. This option allows borrowers to save a little more money over the life of the loan, since the interest won’t accumulate while you’re in school.

Immediate Repayment

Borrowers with a steady income can opt to start making payments immediately after the loan is disbursed, throughout their time in school. This option results in the lowest cost over the life of a loan, saving the borrower the most of all the repayment options.

Ascent Student Loans Scholarship and Resources

Ascent offers sweepstakes-based scholarships, which means no essays required and only a few minutes to enter. Multiple scholarship types are available and Ascent has awarded students with more than $332,000 in total.

AscentUP and Other Financial Resources

Ascent provides a wealth of resources to help students make informed financial decisions. 

For instance, AscentUP is a resource available to all applicants (even if you don’t take out an Ascent loan), and provides free academic, career and financial coaching.

Ascent also has a College Education ROI Calculator, which can help borrowers weigh the cost of attending the school of their choice, versus their average first year salary; a valuable resource for students still considering which school and major to choose.

There are also a host of other financial resources available, such as budgeting tools, financial wellness tips, a college checklist and career advice.

These tools empower borrowers to take control of their finances and make smart borrowing decisions.

Ascent Student Loans Customer Service

Borrowers can reach Ascent’s customer service team at 877-216-0876 or by email at [email protected]. Additional support is available through online chat, providing multiple channels for borrowers to get the assistance they need.

Ascent Student Loans Phone Number: 877-216-0876

Comparing Ascent to Competitors

Ascent vs. College Ave

College Ave and Ascent both offer private student loans for undergraduate and graduate degrees. Both providers have competitive rates, flexible terms and repayment options, and no major fees, like origination, application or prepayment fees. Here’s where they differ:

  • Ascent offers a non-credit-based (outcomes-based) loan option; College Ave does not.
  • College Ave has refinance options for existing student loans; Ascent does not.
  • Ascent’s grace period is nine months for most loan types; College Ave’s is only six months.
  • Ascent offers extra bonuses like a cash back graduation bonus and referral bonuses that College Ave does not offer.
  • Both offer auto-pay discounts of 0.25 percent, however Ascent offers up to one percent for certain loan types.

Ascent vs. Earnest

Ascent and Earnest are major providers in the private student loan market, and both offer competitive rates, flexible terms and the ability to choose your repayment option and customize your loan to meet your needs. When comparing the two, it’s important to keep these points in mind:

  • Ascent offers a non-credit-based (outcomes-based) loan option; Earnest does not.
  • Earnest does not offer a co-signer release option; Ascent does.
  • Earnest is transparent about their credit score requirements; Ascent does not publish this information.
  • Ascent offers extra bonuses like a cash back graduation bonus and referral bonuses that Earnest does not offer.
  • Both providers offer an auto-pay discount of 0.25 percent, however Ascent offers up to one percent for certain loan types.

Ascent vs. Sallie Mae

Sallie Mae and Ascent are private student loan providers, both offering undergraduate and graduate student loans with fixed and variable rate options. While the two providers have some similarities, there are some differences to consider as well:

  • Sallie Mae has fewer repayment options to choose from compared to Ascent.
  • Ascent offers a non-credit-based (outcomes-based) loan option; Sallie Mae does not.
  • Ascent offers extra bonuses like a cash back graduation bonus and referral bonuses that Sallie Mae does not offer.
  • Ascent allows you to check your rates without impacting your credit score, Sallie Mae does not.
  • Both offer auto-pay discounts of 0.25 percent, however Ascent offers up to one percent for certain loan types.

Bottom Line: Why We Love It

Ascent provides a variety of loan options, flexible terms and a generous grace period. This helps borrowers land on a monthly payment amount that truly works for their budget after graduation. 

There are a couple of other perks we love that set Ascent apart from other student loan lenders too—free AscentUP coaching, a cash back graduation bonus and bonuses for referring friends. All-in-all, Ascent is a reputable, student-friendly student loan provider that offers solutions tailored to your needs.

FAQs

Are Ascent student loans good?

Yes, Ascent student loans are well-regarded. They offer both co-signed and non-co-signed loan options, catering to a wide range of borrowers. Ascent provides competitive interest rates, flexible repayment terms and a variety of benefits such as one percent cash back upon graduation and access to free financial literacy resources. The application process is straightforward and can be completed online. Additionally, Ascent is praised for its customer service in online reviews, making it a solid choice for those seeking private student loans.

Is Ascent student loans legit?

Yes, Ascent is a legitimate and trustworthy financial institution, offering private student loans for undergraduates, graduates and international students with flexible terms, competitive interest rates and generous benefits for borrowers. Additionally, Ascent has received positive reviews for its customer service and financial literacy resources, making it a trustworthy option for those seeking a private student loan.

Are Ascent student loans deferred?

Yes, Ascent student loans can be deferred. Borrowers can opt to defer payments while enrolled at least half-time in school. With this option, regular monthly payment would begin after graduation and the end of the grace period, which is nine months for most loan types. Borrowers can select their preferred payment option during the application and approval process. 

Disclosure

Ascent’s undergraduate and graduate student loans are funded by Bank of Lake Mills or DR Bank, each Member FDIC. Loan products may not be available in certain jurisdictions. Certain restrictions, limitations; and terms and conditions may apply. For Ascent Terms and Conditions please visit: AscentFunding.com/Ts&Cs. Rates are effective as of 7/1/2024 and reflect an automatic payment discount of either 0.25% (for credit-based loans) OR 1.00% (for undergraduate outcomes-based loans). Automatic Payment Discount is available if the borrower is enrolled in automatic payments from their personal checking account and the amount is successfully withdrawn from the authorized bank account each month. For Ascent rates and repayment examples please visit: AscentFunding.com/Rates. 1% Cash Back Graduation Reward subject to terms and conditions. Cosigned Credit-Based Loan student must meet certain minimum credit criteria. The minimum score required is subject to change and may depend on the credit score of your cosigner. Lowest rates require interest-only payments, the shortest loan term, a cosigner, and are only available for our most creditworthy applicants and cosigners with the highest average credit scores. Actual APR offered may be higher or lower than the repayment examples above, based on the amount of time you spend in school and any grace period you have before repayment begins.

Methodology

The Consumer Rating Difference

Behind Our Best Student Loans Ratings

We make choosing the best student loan easy with expert reviews and rankings.

Here’s the methodology behind our ratings:

icon

Comprehensive Overviews

From preferences, to pricing & more, we cover all you need to know about student loans in our detailed reviews.
icon

Pricing Details

We break down how much the student loans costs, noting everything that’s included for the different price points.
icon

Student Loans Comparisons

With so many different student loans available, it can be hard to decide which one is right for you. We compare different brands based on your preferences.
icon

FAQs

In case the review wasn't enough to, we also include several FAQs to help ensure you have all you need to make an informed decision.